Carolina Panthers

Panthers hoped Cam Newton could avoid shoulder surgery after December MRI showed tear

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton remains on the field after trying to prevent a San Diego Chargers touchdown after an interception in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium last December. It has been reported that it was on this play that Newton suffered a partially torn rotator cuff.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton remains on the field after trying to prevent a San Diego Chargers touchdown after an interception in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium last December. It has been reported that it was on this play that Newton suffered a partially torn rotator cuff. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

That shoulder nobody – Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton included – seemed worried about by the end of the 2016 season will now keep Newton out of upcoming offseason training.

Newton will have surgery on a partially torn rotator cuff on March 30 in Charlotte. Team doctor Pat Connor recommended an arthroscopic procedure, which will be performed by Connor at Carolinas Medical Center, according to an announcement made Tuesday afternoon by the Panthers.

Head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion told Panthers.com that Newton will begin a preliminary throwing program 12 weeks after the surgery. The team website maintained that he will be ready for the start of training camp, and Vermillion said Newton can throw with the team 16 weeks after surgery if everything goes as planned.

Newton’s injury came in Week 14, against the San Diego Chargers (on Dec. 11), the team site reported. Later that week, reports surfaced that Newton had an MRI on his throwing shoulder, and he did not throw that week in practice.

On Dec. 14, Newton spoke to media and shrugged off his limitations in practice, and that it was “nothing to be scary about.”

On Dec. 15, head coach Ron Rivera confirmed in his press conference that Newton had an MRI and that it came back clean.

The team’s report on Tuesday contradicts that statement, stating that the MRI revealed the partial tear.

Newton’s repetitions were limited in practice for the final weeks of the season and he was listed on the Panthers’ injury report in Week 15 as “limited” on Thursday and Friday of that week, “full participation” on Saturday and his game status was “questionable”. In Week 16, he was listed with the same injury as “limited” on Wednesday and “full” on Thursday and Friday, repeated as such in Week 17. He played in those remaining three games.

“We modified all of Cam’s work in the weight room and on the field for the final three weeks of the season,” Vermillion told the team site.

Trainers planned to let Newton rest this offseason, according to the report on Panthers.com, and then begin a rehabilitation and treatment program.

Newton had multiple MRIs to monitor his progress, and also visited a rehab specialist in Atlanta, the report said.

When Newton began throwing, he reported pain in the shoulder and difficulty with his throws, Vermillion told the team site. At that point, Connor recommended the surgery, the team report said.

During his podium session with reporters at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis in early March, Rivera said that Newton was in good shape and rehabbing his shoulder, and did not seem to believe Newton needed surgery after questions from reporters about the injury.

Meanwhile, veteran defensive end Charles Johnson had back surgery on Tuesday in Charlotte, the team announced, after complaining recently of back pain and undergoing an epidural that did not provide much relief. According to the team site, Johnson had a consultation with Dr. Bruce Darden at OrthoCarolina, who recommended a microdiscectomy (an operation that is most commonly used to repair a herniated lumbar disc, according to the Columbia University Medical Center).

Second-year wide receiver Damiere Byrd will have surgery on his left knee this week to repair a torn lateral meniscus. Vermillion told the team site that Byrd injured his knee while conditioning on his own.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071, @jourdanrodrigue

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